Richmond locals almost commissioned surrealist artist Salvador Dalí to create a sculpture made of anodized aluminum to honor Southern women, in general, and in specific, Capt. Sally Tompkins, the managing matron of a private Confederate hospital at Third and Grace streets. That was 1966. In the wake of the city-wide discussion concerning the Arthur Ashe monument, 20 years after Dalí’s duesy.
Harry Kollatz Jr., then a member of the Firehouse Theatre Project, wrote The Persistence of Memory. In it, he juxtaposes the committee of old line Richmonders whose desire is to create a roster of new statutes for the renowned street against a group of post-Beat/pre-hippie artists and students of Richmond Professional Institute (later Virginia Commonwealth University) who provide commentary from the creaky booths of the Village Restaurant. Into this mileu walks Dalí’s “military advisor,” the Irish Capt. J. Peter Moore, who arrives in Richmond with a French model, named Lisa, on one arm and an ocelot, named Tabu, on the other — neither of whom speak a word of English.
POM conveys the spirit of the mid-1960s just at the precipice of tremendous cultural shifts. The subject matter remains relevant — and to this day, there is still no prominent female figure on Monument Avenue. The play first underwent a 1996 script-in-hand performance in the basement of the 1708 Gallery and the next year, received full production by the Firehouse Theatre Project. Exactly 20 years after that well-received show, came a staged reading of the play at the Coalition Theater as a co-production with the 5th Wall Theater.
Full Production of the original Persistence of Memory at the FTP.
Carlisle Montgomery (novel, Primer Books, Sydney, Australia)
Carlisle is in her own words, “A six-foot-five, redheaded, pigtailed, buck-and-gap toothed, nine-fingered, guitar playing freak.” She fronts The Live Wires, a bluegrass band with a honky tonk problem they’re not trying to fix. The time is the early 1990s when radioland is divided between grunge and Garth Brooks, while the more adventurous get into goth and GWAR. The story follows her assorted, and on occasion sordid, adventures and misadventures musical, sexual and Travel, which is the 1968 International Harvester truck that ferries The Live Wires, to gigs in around the environs of Richmond, Virginia, and parts beyond.
She writes and performs “purebred American music,” as musician and broadcaster Page Wilson described the genre of her musical blending. She classifies her approach as “Freakgrass.” She explained in a 2005 blog interview. “I’m from Mulberry Street in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up among Bounders & Rogues and grease monkeys in the Urban Jungle of Scott’s Addition. Whatever you call telling the stories about that conglomeration of people and the situations they get themselves into, then that’s how you can label what I do and the songs I hope to make. But that’s more about organizing auto parts than music.”
Reading from Carlisle Montgomery chapter, “The Four Food Groups” during the “RVA Lit Crawl,” April, 2018, at the Sugar + Twine café.
Lee’s Chicken Sign Weather Report: Now in it’s eighth egg-citing year! Fifth Anniversary Compilation (2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTnj9KV45xQ&t=30s
Richmond Magazine array: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmbouci-0aU_WHAUsYGjNQ In order of appearance: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=richmond+magazine+lee%27s+chicken+sign+weather+report&sp=CAI%253D
Assorted appearances: Introduction of Vince Gilligan, Richmond magazine’s 20th Annual Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts https://www.facebook.com/RichmondMag/videos/10159694333450305/
Fishing Lures For My Bucket Hat: My 2016 role as Lt. Col. Henry Blake of the M*A*S*H #4077 for “The Mighty Pen” project. http://richmondmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/stage-screen/m-a-s-h-live/
Discussing for Richmond magazine how I came up with a voice for Benjamin Franklin for the 2016 “Legends & Lies.” http://richmondmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/stage-screen/becoming-ben/ Benjamin Franklin: Inventing America (“Legends & Lies”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGJ5DKobFG4&t=749s
Performing during an episode of “Richmond Famous” at the February, 2017, Coalition Theatre, Richmond, Va. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLw8vUE72eU&t=120s
At the Hippodrome, Richmond, Va., a teaser for “The Edsel Farm,” presented as part of an event sponsored by Secretly Y’all, Unmonumental, and #untoldrva. https://www.facebook.com/secretlyall/videos/10154539746578599/
And the whole Edsel Farm story (audio) https://player.fm/series/secretly-yall/self-determined-change-2
Dahlgren’s Raid: Presentation as part of the Tredegar Society speakers series, Jan. 22, 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOcE_A2S3J0
Play The Persistence of Memory, a play about how Salvador Dalí almost designed a statue for Richmond’s Monument Avenue in 1966. Produced at the Firehouse Theatre Project, 1997. That’s Eileen Edmonds and Niabi Aquena singing at the beginning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mss7Wr9paSs&t=1623s
Theater Fifth Wall Theatre Co. http://www.5thwalltheatre.org https://www.facebook.com/5thwalltheatre/ Old Firehouse Theatre Project A documentary for the company’s 15th anniversary, 2008. Created by filmmaker and documentarian Eric Futterman. ( EAF Custom Communications, http://www.eafcommunication.biz/1/ ) “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ora1m6QwJ7w
Interview with “Breaking Bad,” and “Better Call Saul” creator Vince Gilligan.
“That’s All She Wrote:” An appreciation of Donnie “Dirt Woman” Corker, the character who put me on the road to professional journalism./
“Reading, Writing and Richmond,” an attempt in Sept. 2017 to summarize Richmond’s literary output.
“Ben & Me:” How I learned to be Benjamin Franklin for a Fox News history series, /
And yes, there is an IMDB page for Harry Kollatz, Jr.